Lloyd Mondory (AG2R La Mondiale) on stage after being awarded the most aggressive rider prize for stage 1.
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AG2R rider finishes third in Vuelta HC summit finish
Lloyd Mondory, usually more know for his fast finishing speed, showed in Sunday's Vuelta a Espana stage 15 to Lagos de Covadonga that he is able to surge to the line not only on flat terrain, but also on a HC mountaintop finish. By taking third place on the stage, the AG2R La Mondiale sprinter - whose palmarès is a modest one - proved that he could be more than a little-known fast man, and this may change his race startegy and objectives in the future.
The Frenchman was part of a nine-rider breakaway which went up the road after 50 kilometres of racing. He held out until the finish and managed to take third place, behind the winner Antonio Piedra (Caja Rural) and second-placed Ruben Perez (Euskaltel-Euskadi).
"I'm happy with this third place, especially on a stage like this, at the start of the last week," Mondory said after the race. "I hope that now people will see me in a new way and not only as a sprinter."
The 30-year-old explained that after failing to make it to the absolute top level of international sprinters, he would like to expand his target range in order to score more victories. "I still believe in my chances to win a stage in a Grand Tour either in a sprint or in a mountain stage. In a three-week race, some riders recover better than others. I've always proved that I have a good resistance in the Grand Tours and I don't hesitate to get in breakaways, even on difficult stages."
But the chances for success out of an escape group have been scarce at the Vuelta so far, also because of the race's different profile this year. "Breakaways are rare since the beginning of this Vuelta," Mondory agreed. "Today, there was a fight for 50 kilometers before that the bunch let a break slip away. It's been several days I tried to get into the break but you must be in the right place at the right time. The goal now is to win by the end of the Vuelta. There are still three opportunities for sprinters. I'm in a great shape and I'm confident!"
Mondory had some knee problems earlier this summer, which prevented him from taking the start at the Tour de France. His only victory this season was a stage at the Etoile the Bessèges in spring.
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